Laura Battiferri Ammannati



Laura Battiferri

Agnolo Bronzino, Ritratto di Laura Battiferri

by Elizabeth A. Pallitto

Laura Battiferri Ammannati (1523-1589) Born in Urbino, the illegitimate child of a nobleman, Giovanni Antonio Battiferri, and a concubine, Maddelena Coccapani of Capri, Laura was nonetheless given a decent education. She married Vittorio Sereni, then, after her died, remarried the Florentine sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati.

In 1560 she published Primo libro dell’ opere toscane (Florence: Giunti; Rpt. Naples: Bulifon, 1694). Moving in the similar Florentine literary circles as Tullia D’Aragona, Ammannati received guidance on her work from D’Aragona’s friend, Benedetto Varchi, and similarly dedicated her Primo to the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Elenora of Toledo. It is also argued that echoes of other female writers, specifically Chiara Matraini of Lucca and Gaspara Stampa, can be found in Battiferri Ammannati’s work. However, after her death, identification with these women served to relegate her work to the cultural margins.

One of her sonnets was published in an anthology of work by Atanagi in 1561.

In 1564, Battiferri Ammannati published her translations of various “Penitential Psalms,” including some “spiritual sonnets,” which she authored. This work (I sette salmi pentienziali del santissimo profeta Davit tradotti in lingua Toscana…con gli argomenti sopra ciascuno di essi: insieme con alcuni sonetti spirituali) was reprinted in Florence by the original publisher, Giunti, in 1566 and 1570 as well. There is also a reprise in the 1568 volume, Salmi penitenziali di diversi, edited by Francesco Turchi (Rpt. 1569; 1570; 1572; 1749).

Before her death, Battiferri Ammannati began work on her third book, Rime, which was never published. It survives as a manuscript in the Casanatense Library in Rome, and was intended to have included all of her work from her first two books and almost all her work after those publications.

Battiferri Ammannati wrote almost five hundred and fifty poems, including more than one hundred from exchanges in correspondence. Her letters to Varchi were also published in Lettere a benedetto Varchi in 1879 (Ed. C Gargiolli, Bologna: Romagnoli). Correspondents included: Annibal Caro, Benedetto Varchi, il Lasca, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini.


Il primo libro dell’opere toscane si M. Laura Battiferra degli Ammannati, 1560 (based on the holograph in Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Ms. Magl. VII, 778; republished as Rime della Sig. Laura Battiferra nuovamente date in luce de Antonio Bulifon, 1694; Il primo libro delle opere toscane, ed. Enrico Maria Guidi Urbino, Accedemia Raffello, 2000.

Rime, ed. Robert Fedi Milan: Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, 2000.

I sette salmi pentienziali del santissimo profeta Davit tradotti in lingua Toscana…con gli argomenti sopra ciascuno di essi: insieme con alcuni sonetti spirituali, ed. Enrico Maria Guidi, Urbino, Accedemia Raffello, 2005.

Lettere a benedetto Varchi, reprinted by Nabu Press, 2011.



V. Kirkham, “Creative Patters: The Marriage of Laura Battiferra and Bartolomeo Ammannati” in Renaissance Quarterly. 55 (2002): 498-558.

—, “La poetessa al precepio: Una meditazione inedita di Laura Battiferra degli Ammannati” in Filologia e critica. 27, no. 2 (2002): 258-276.

—,Laura Battiferra and Her Literary Circle: An Anthology: A Bilingual Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

—, “Laura Battiferra degli Ammannati benefattrice dei Gesuiti fiorentini” in Commitenza artistica femminile. ed. S. F. Matthews Grieco and G. Zarri, Quaderno storici. 104, no. 2 (2000): 331-54.

—, “Laura Battiferra’s ‘First Book; of Poetry: A Renaissance Holograph comes out of Hiding,” in Rinascimento. 35 (1996): 351-91.

—, “Sappho on the Arno: The Brief Fame of Laura Battiferra degli Ammannati” in eds. P. Benson and V. Kirkham. Strong Voices, Weak History: Early Women Writers and Canons in England, France and Italy Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Maria Guidi, Enrico. “I salmi ppenetenziali di David nella traduzione de Laura Battrferra” in Academia Raffaello: Atti e studi. 1 (2004): pp. 83-92.

Russell, R. Italian Women Writers: A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994.




Brooklyn Museum
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Laura Ammanati

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